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Vale Ted Middleton

Edward ‘Ted’ Middleton  (1944 – 2019)

Ted Middleton



The association was sad to learn of the passing of Ted Middleton on September 3rd. Ted was a very popular and well-respected member of the music products industry. Born in Scotland, raised in England, his parents were wartime entertainers who migrated to Australia. He formed the band, “The Boys”, who were moderately successful (supporting the Bee Gees and a few and other famous touring bands). He then owned and operated Bondi Music Headquarters for more than 15 years in the 80s and 90s before moving to Queensland in the late 90s. There, Ted worked representing many of the world’s leading brands and suppliers in that state. These Sydney Guitar Trader, Kurt Jacob and Co, Gibson Guitars – AMI, Casio, Syntec | Sennheiser , Intermusic IMD , HQ Agencies , Jet Music International and Maton for whom he worked for 20 years. He was most recently in business with his son Eddie where he was CFO of Jet Music. He loved playing guitar, cars, motorbikes and soccer, particularly Arsenal, and will always be remembered for his quick wit and sense of humour.

Ted was married to his wife Bronwyn for 43 years and had two kids; Katie and Eddie. We offer our condolences to the family and Ted’s close friends.

Ted Middleton and Tommy Emmanuel

Vale Steve Lincoln Smith

It is with great sadness that we announce that our friend and colleague, Steve Lincoln Smith passed away on September 8 with his wife Julie by his side. He was 60 years old.

While his industry friends and colleagues knew he was crook, his passing has come as a surprise to many, and we offer our heartfelt  condolences to Julie and the family as well as his large circle of friends and admirers.

It was only in May that Steve was added to the AMA’s Honour Roll for his outstanding and long service to the music products industry.

Steve commenced employment in the music products industry at aged 17, retiring at 60 years of age. Over those 43 years he worked for Rose Music, Yamaha Australia, Yamaha Japan, Innovative Music, in Retail, Wholesale, as Importer, Sub-contractor, performed as Product Demonstrator, Product Specialist, International, Domestic, NAMM presenter, Session Musician, Producer, Music Director, Performer, Touring Artist, Jingle Writer,.

Steve was considered an innovator, and a champion of music technology in Australia.

Steve was a classically trained pianist with an appreciation of the full orchestral landscape including a keen knowledge of string arranging. His first temptation away from the classical world was for the sounds and texture of the Hammond Organ in combination with the Leslie Speaker but it was synthesisers with their many varied sounds and unlimited possibilities that changed his musical direction.

Steve described himself as really a “classical musician with a decided bent toward Rock, Soul, Jazz and Funk”.  It was this passion for using new musical tools that has allowed Steve the freedom to create works in almost any style. His knowledge and deep understanding of the technology behind the music is also key to his ability to shine above other players.

At one point in his musical career Steve was a sought after session musician working in the studio on major releases, some of the more well-known artists included John Farnham, The Little River Band, David Hirschfelder, Kids in the Kitchen, Dear Enemy, Alias Smith and Jones and James Morrison.

For many years Steve has been the Musical Director of a well-known Melbourne Advertising and Jingle production house while also building up a large music technology company, Innovative Music. With his wife and partner Julie they forged new paths for the industry and encouraged new genres of music to flourish in Australia.

Our music industry will be the poorer without him. As colleague and friend Tony Burn said today “A great man, musician and corporate citizen. A huge loss to the industry, let alone family and friends”.

Steve Receives his AMA Honour Roll Award in May 2019





Rosewood Restrictions to be lifted for Musical Instruments

After three years of work and representation from a global coalition of companies and associations the CITES meeting in Geneva has voted in favour of allowing exemptions for trade and movement of finished musical instruments containing rosewood. Imports and exports of finished musical instruments, finished parts and finished accessories will no longer need a CITES permit. The exception applies to all species of dalbergia except Brazilian rosewood, which remains on CITES Appendix I.

Permits will not be required after 26 November, 2019. The Department of Energy and Environment have sent advice to stakeholders.

The AMA’s Rob Walker said, “in a time when pressure mounts on profitability in our industry, the removal of significant administrative requirements will be welcome news to many wholesalers and manufacturers of musical instruments.”

“The consensus reached in Geneva this week and the new policies adopted by CITES parties are the result of more than three years of collaboration among international music stakeholders, government officials, and conservation leaders,” noted Heather Noonan, vice president of advocacy for the League of American Orchestras. “Musical instrument stakeholders have a lasting commitment to the goals of CITES, will remain at the table for ongoing conversations, and are committed to educating the music community globally about how compliance with CITES requirements will support both urgent conservation needs and essential international cultural activity.”

The Coalition has made a compelling case to authorities and all four items that were the focus of our groups’ efforts were adopted. They are;

Prop. 52 Dalbergia Annotation #15
The proposal by Canada and the EU was accepted by consensus, with the part c exemption for finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories – and the related definitions that we supported – fully intact! Revisions were made to part b. of the annotation to expand the weight limit to 10kg per shipment, to accommodate handicrafts, both shipped and as personal effects. The proposal also includes a mandate for the Secretariat to undertake a study to assess the impact of Annotation #15’s exemption for finished products up to 10kg per shipment and finished musical instruments, parts, and accessories. If undertaken, the results of the study would be reviewed by the Standing Committee, to potentially inform an amendment proposal for CoP19. In other words, the discussions about further improving Annotation #15 will continue in the next three years.
It is of note that the Annotations Committee will also be re-established to review all annotations. And, in a separate decision, a mandate was created to study rosewood and potentially convene related workshops before CoP19.
The new exemptions goes into effect after 90 days from adoption.

Prop. 57 Cedrela
The proposal from Ecuador was annotated with #6 to require permits only for logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets, and plywood, with a limited application to neotropical species. This means that musical instruments containing cedrela will not require CITES permits.

The Cedrela listing will not have effect for 12 months from adoption.

Prop. 13 Mammoth
The proposal was withdrawn by Israel, in response to objections from the Secretariat and Parties, primarily to do with the extinct species being outside the scope of the Convention. A new decision was accepted, directing the Secretariat – subject to external funding – to conduct a study on how trade in mammoth impacts trade in elephant ivory. If undertaken, the findings would be reported to the Standing Committee, which might inform proposals for CoP19.

Doc. 56 Simplified Procedures (relevant to the Musical Instrument Certificate)
A resolution was approved to initiate an new effort to streamline and simplify permit requirements for “the international movement of CITES specimens where the trade will have a negligible impact on the conservation of the species concerned.” This language was added and endorsed by the US and the EU with the intention that it will address the non-commercial cross-border movement of musical instruments, and result in a proposal for CoP19 to reduce the burdens associated with the CITES Musical Instrument Certificate.

AMA Receives NAMM Foundation Grant to further Develop Music Making in Australia in 2019/20







The Australian Music Association has been named a grant recipient of The NAMM Foundation. The organization was selected as one of 28 music-making organizations to receive a grant to fund vital programs that provide access to music-making opportunities across a variety of different communities and demographics.

“Through the transformative work of these organizations, thousands of people will discover or advance their love and desires for making music,” said Mary Luehrsen, Executive Director of The NAMM Foundation. “And these projects also advance new music learning experiences and capacity – all essential for creating more music makers.”

The grants serve to underscore the Foundation’s mission to advance participation in music making and offer quality access to all people. As one of 28 recipients, the Australian Music Association will utilize the resource to support the organization’s  efforts to establish the wonderful Make Music Day initiative in Australia as well as continue with its efforts to engage schools and local government to embrace group youth music making.

The AMA’s executive officer, Rob Walker said, ‘the grant from the NAMM Foundation enables our small association to think big! Through its grants program the foundation enables so many smaller organisations to take on projects that truly globalize the efforts of our industry to create more music makers and advocate for the importance of music education’.

Since its inception in 1994, The NAMM Foundation’s annual grant program has donated more than $18 million in support to domestic and international music education programs, scientific research, advocacy and public service programs related to music-making. The grants program has also contributed significantly to the development in Australia of programs such as Musical Futures. The grants are funded in part by donations from the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,400 member companies worldwide.

About the Australian Music Association

The Australian Music Association’s is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to be the voice of the music products industry and grow music making in Australia. For more information please visit our website or Contact Rob Walker at

About The NAMM Foundation
The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its 10,300 members. The Foundation’s mission is to advance active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs. For more information about The NAMM Foundation, please visit

2019 Melbourne Guitar Show! Another Big Show Coming Up

The Melbourne Guitar Centre approaches again for its 5th showing at the Caulfield Racecourse. The 2019 program is now online along with an again impressive list of industry suppliers, brands and retailers exhibiting the latest and best in guitars and gear.
The show continues to attract overseas guests as well as our own best players, and we’re expecting big crowds again for a great show.
There are a couple of stand spaces available, and we can accommodate a late entry or two. So get in touch if you want to take advantage of the opportunity the #MGS2019 provides.

Show organiser Rob Walker said, “the industry gets a bit excited with the show around the corner. It’s a time for new products, meeting our customers face to face and promoting our great industry” We have the bonus of presenting some of the finest talent in a fun weekend. It’s when the guitar community get together and we all look forward to it!”

The full list of 2019 EXHIBITORS can be seen HERE

Make Music Day 2019 Expands to National Event

As members will know, the AMA in partnership with NAMM Foundation, APRA AMCOS, and the Live Music Office has lead the establishment of Make Music Day Australia on the cultural calendar. In 2019 our participation increased by over 50% with significant alliances being forged and grown.

The beauty of Make Music Day is the whether you’re a professional musician, part of a community group, an avid music enthusiast or just a passer-by on the street, Make Music Day is free and open to one and all!

Launched in 1982 in France as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day is a day of community-led free musical expression now held annually on 21 June in more than 800 cities in 120 countries.

The AMA’s CEO Rob Walker said “we have are thrilled to have had such support in this second year. An event of this scope has been done on the smell of an oily rag these first two years and we are confident that people in high places are seeing the enormous cultural value of a celebratory event like Make Music Day”.

For our industry it provides inspiration and opportunities for the community. Aptly put by one supporter “I work more so in the community arts sector and think that Make Music Day is an incredible opportunity to mobilise and inspire people who may not be part of the ‘professional music industry’ and can be an accessible platform for these cohorts to connect with music in a more community friendly environment”.

Schools got involved too! here’s one very endearing example.

We are thrilled with the support of Create NSW one of our major communication partners in 2019. Create NSW is an exemplar in how government can be so influential in creating positive cultural initiatives such as Make Music Day. From feature international events like the live streaming project with Sydney Symphony Orchestra to music on trains and in Stations.

This video is a highlights reel of our involvement in the international streaming party.

One can imagine very easily what it would achieve if our whole country were united on one day to Make Music together. This is what Make Music Day is all about.




Roland Veteran Departs

After a career spanning 30 years, Mark Van der Sluis is departing Roland. MD, Nick Middleton’s announcement to dealers this week follows. The AMA’s Rob Walker said that along with the executive committee we send our best wishes. Sluis has been at AMA events since I can remember he added. Always with a great attitude on board. He will be missed no doubt.

It is with regret and sadness to announce that Mark van der Sluis has tendered his resignation, effective Friday 12th July.

‘Sluis’, as he is affectionately known, has been with Roland for close to 30 years, and spent the last 17 years at Roland Australia. During this time he has made a significant contribution to Roland digital piano sales and has had regular input into the global piano R&D team. He has made hundreds of dealer calls, done countless training sessions, produced dozens of videos and navigated numerous events, including product launches. Most importantly, thanks to his charismatic personality, he has made many, many friends along the way. He will be sorely missed by everyone at both Roland Australia and Roland internationally, and we are sure you will have the same sentiment.

Whilst it will be extremely difficult to replace Sluis, we will start the recruitment process for a new Piano Product Manager soon. In the meantime, please use the following contacts for all piano enquiries;

Product and Training:
Mark Watson
0410 635 881

Sales and Orders:
02 9982 8266

Dave Whitehead
02 9982 8266

2018 Market Report Released to Members – Market show 5% Uptick in Value Against 2017

AMA 2018 Market Report Released to Members sees 5% Value Increase over 2017
2018 saw an uplift in the overall music products market with a 5% value increase over 2017, while it dipped nearly 8% in volume. With the currency hovering around 70cents against the US dollar a continuing rise in value has been maintained. An Import value of $296m was the highest total recorded in dollar terms, but one of the lowest totals in respect of volume in some time falling 15% when comparing the nearly 2million units that were imported in 2016.

The full market summary for 2018 can be read AT THIS LINK

Melbourne Guitar Show Back in 2019 Bigger than ever

Guitar fans and afficienados are looking forward to August 3 & 4 at Caulfield Racecourse as the annual Melbourne Guitar Show sets to display and present all that’s new in guitars and guitar gear. The cream of Australia’s talent will again be on show too. All details will be announced in May.

Stand space has all but sold out according to the AMA’s CEO and show organiser, Rob Walker. “we think we got it right last year with the new layout and show rules around noise levels- we’re looking for more of the same in 2019, with happy exhibitors and punters” he said

Check out the highlights of 2018 to give you a glimpse of what is the follow this year

Vale Don Morrison

A Tribute to
18TH October 1952 to 21st April 2019

It is with sad hearts today, that we inform you of the peaceful passing of Don Morrisson, in the Wesley Hospital Brisbane at 6.40am on Easter Sunday.
Our deepest and heartfelt sympathy go out to Dons wife Anna, his son Jimmie, daughter Katie, son in-law Chris and his much-loved grandchildren Sofia and Oliver.
Don was an integral and Iconic member of our Music Industry and he will be deeply missed by all that knew and loved him. He always brought a smile to the face of everyone who came across him.
Don first started work as a Queensland Area Manager with Electric Factory nearly 31 years ago and remained in that role with them for 17 years. Don moved and continued this role with National Music for 4.5 years before ending his career at Musical Merchandisers, after 9 years, at the end of February this year. Don would often say he couldn’t believe he started his career selling Washburn guitars and ended it selling Washburn guitars.
It has been a wonderful journey for Don in the industry, he was known by so many people, he loved the retailers he would visit, and built so many long lasting and treasured friendships. Don loved a good story, a chat and many coffees.
Don was the recipient of many awards including being honoured as a Great Australian at The Great Australian Gala Dinner in Melbourne in 2016.
As many of you will be aware Don was also a wonderful author who wrote and published several books. Dons life was a wonderful book, in its self, cramming so much into his 66 years.
Don toured Vietnam during the War as a performer (Drummer) in bands and continued to play professionally up until a couple of years ago. He loved drumming and performing and made so many lifelong friends doing what he loved.
You’ve been an inspiration to so many. You will never be forgotten.

Memorial Service details are provided as follows;

Tuesday 30th April at 9.30 am
Lakeview Chapel at Albany Creek Crematorium , 400 Albany Creek Road , Bridgeman Downs